LSG Community Meeting Questions
- What is the Blackboard Message App?
The Blackboard Mobile Communications App is the system that replaced School Messenger, the old automated messaging system. District and Campus administrators will utilize this system to communicate with parents about updates, important news, etc.
2. What are some free options for students during the summer? (Summer Camps, Art, Music, Science)
Currently, South San ISD holds a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) camp every summer for students who have finished grades 4-11. Students have the opportunity to participate in two courses of their choice. In the past, these courses included Lego robotics, coding, rocket building, cyber security, digital media, crime scene investigation, veterinary science, culinary arts, solar system, comparative anatomy & fitness and research and design. For Summer 2019, we are investigating the possibility of adding courses such as 3-D design, art, theatre, choir, dance, broadcasting and augmented reality.
- According to the A-F Accountability System, South San ISD was given a grade of “D.” Is a “B” your new goal? What specifically are you going to do to change our grade? Is it even possible? What are your plans as a district to improve our grade? How soon will you implement this plan?
South San ISD is focused on the following:
- Students reading on grade level for Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. The goal is 85% of 2nd graders reading on grade level.
- The Middle School Academy model is moving students towards the mastery levels with a more rigorous curriculum.
- At monthly data meetings, principals present data and action plans to increase student achievement and receive feedback from principals and central office administration.
- Principals conduct campus learning walks with their leadership teams to assess progress on key actions in the campus action plan.
- Teachers participate in monthly, focused trainings on literacy and math with follow up coaching and feedback at the campuses.
- Who is designing the framework for school performance?
This is a collaborative effort that began with our strategic design plan in February 2018. Parents, students, teachers, and community members were involved with how we define excellence.
The framework continues to be refined with monthly meetings of a committee that is comprised of the superintendent, district administrators from various departments, campus principals, the lead counselor, and an executive advisor from TEA. Throughout the year, the committee will present the updated school performance framework to faculty, staff, community, and parents for feedback and input.
- What exactly is being graded in the subpopulations? What grade is considered “passing” for performance and subpopulation?
South San ISD is being graded on the following subpopulations: economically disadvantaged students, special education students, English Language Learners, African American, Hispanic, and White.
Students in each subpopulation must meet a target score in reading and mathematics set by the Texas Education Agency.
- How are you holding principals accountable for the results?
All principals submit a campus action plan. It identifies a minimum of three key actions their school is focused on in order to improve their campus increasing one letter grade per year. This action plan will be posted on campus websites so the school community can review them and their indicators of success.
Additionally, we meet formally with principals twice a month, once reviewing specific data targets and another where we conduct learning walks across the districts to ensure that their key actions stated in their action plans are met and on track to meet their goals.
- How can middle school teachers provide a consistent and quality education with extreme behavioral issues in the classroom with no assistance from their school’s administration?
First and foremost, students respond to clear expectations and structure provided by the teacher and supported by campus administration. Therefore, all teachers and administrators have been trained to implement explicit procedures and routines to create a safe and orderly learning environment. Students learn in caring classrooms. Teachers are encouraged to develop relationships and create learning experiences that foster a sense of community in the classroom.
- What are you going to do differently to help the students improve in academics?
We continue to focus on good first instruction everyday beginning the first day of school. We have a hyper focus on kindergarten, first and second grade reading levels by implementing a district wide “balanced literacy” where it targets reading intervention. Parents are encouraged to assist reading development by reading with their child, at least 20 minutes a night which makes a significant difference in students reading on grade level.
- How can high school students have the option to be in other elective paths while following the Associate’s Degree plan?
Students are informed that elective options are narrowed as they reach their last few semesters of completing the associate’s degree. Elective classes are offered toward completing the Associates Degree.
- What plans does the district have for student retention?
Increasing the quantity and quality of options within South San Antonio ISD schools will afford students more choices. This has already shown results. Our projected enrollment for the 18-19 school year was 8600 students and we currently have 8888 students enrolled.
Currently, South San Antonio High School’s Career and Technology Education (CTE) Program offers 21 different pathways that students can participate in. Many of these allow students to earn valuable industry certifications while completing their high school diplomas. Additionally, the high school offers the Early College High School. This year, with the graduating class of 2019, approximately ⅕ of the students will be graduating with an associate’s degree from Palo Alto College. The Health Science Academy was reopened this year to include the first freshman cohort of CNA to LVN students, enrolled at St. Philip’s College. Additional pathways at the Health Science Academy include Pharmacy Technician, Emergency Medical Technician, and Medical Billing and Coding.
This school year, 2018-2019, the school choice options were further expanded to the middle schools. The Health Science Academy is at Zamora Middle School, the Fine Arts Academy at Shepard Middle School, and the STEM Academy at Dwight Middle School. Each middle school has opened with a sixth grade cohort and will expand an additional grade level each year. Students are offered all pre-AP classes, are enrolled in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), will be completing high school credit in middle school, have access to one-to-one technology, and are enrolled in electives that are tied to the theme of their selected academy. Next year, this model will be further expanded to at least two elementary schools based on student and parent interest.
- Is there a mid-year review to see if there has been any improvement?
Benchmark data is used every quarter to assess progress towards campus improvement. Mid year evaluations are held with all campus principals to discuss their campus action plan goals, where they are progressing, if they are on track or need to make adjustments.
- What are your plans for improving security on campuses?
The district has created a new position that will overlook the Safety and Security of the district.
- The district will implement the following first level security measures:
- Installing external and internal cameras on all campuses
- New digital radio system which will allow the district and campuses to communicate with one another and will have access to SAPD, SAFD, and EMS
- Installing front door buzzer systems that will have an audio/visual component
- Implementing three portable metal detectors for sporting events and any other situations the district feels the need for them
- The district has adopted a Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Management Plan which includes 4 codes. The 4 codes are Evacuation, Lockdown, Hold the Bells, and Shelter in Place. These 4 codes will help us stay protected in any emergency situation whether it is directly on the campus or it may have the potential to pose a threat to a campus.
- The district is developing a relationship with SAPD, SAFD, and EMS to make sure that the first responders have all the necessary resources such as gate keys, access cards, and maps of the campuses so they can support us when needed.
- All staff including teachers, para-professionals, custodians, food service workers, and students will be trained in our codes and safety measures. The front office staff and any staff that answers the phones will be trained in our “Bomb Threat Procedures.”
- The Safety and Security position will oversee and work with all school personnel on the monthly drills being conducted such as: Evacuation Drills, Lockdown Drills, Hold the Bell Drills, and Shelter in Place Drills. We will communicate with our students and parents through phone, email, and social media outlets when a drill is being conducted.
- The campuses have monthly Safety Committee Meetings to evaluate the drills that were conducted to make improvements as necessary.
- The district will build live drill situations that involve South San Antonio ISD Police, SAPD, SAFD, and EMS
- The campuses will conduct drills during different times of the day to help us prepare for the most adverse situations.
- The district will make sure that every campus has a reunification location. Reunification teams are forming to assist the campus.
- A Safety and Security Audit will be conducted, which is mandated by the state once every 3 years. The next mandatory audit will be conducted during the 2019-2020 school year.
- There is a difference in dealing with special needs children versus spoiled students. The latter make it difficult for teachers. How will that teacher get help?
Campuses have established procedures for providing support to students and teachers to minimize disruptive behaviors. Campus PBIS Teams analyze data and provide recommendations and strategies for curbing off task behaviors. The PBIS team members can create support plans for individual teachers and model classroom management strategies.
- Why are the board goals so low?
The Board Goals are aligned with student outcomes at the state level. For example in math, the State is at 23% Masters Level while the Region is 19% Masters Level. South San’s Student Outcome Goal is 20% Masters Level.
- How can you train teachers to discern between students that ask questions because they want to learn and those who don’t?
Our job as educators is to make instruction engaging so ALL students want to learn. Lessons include opportunities for student collaboration, student talk and immediate feedback.
Business and Finance
1. Where is the budget posted for the public to see?
2. Does the Head Start program enrollment count toward state funding?
Yes. The state funds the Pre-kindergarten students at half the rate of other students.
3. Why do we not have routes for Shepard Middle School?
We provide transportation for students who reside two or more miles from campus of attendance or if their neighborhood qualifies as a Hazardous route as designated by the School Board. On May 17, 2017, the School Board approved our Hazardous routes for the district. Based on that decision, one bus route servicing students who reside from Amberwood to Whitewood up to Military Drive, would be the only students eligible for Transportation.